WCIA — Illinois basketball will be in Kansas City the week of Thanksgiving. The Hall of Fame Classic announced its 2021 tournament field on Wednesday, including Illinois, Arkansas, Kansas State and Cincinnati. The two-day event will run Nov. 22 and 23 at T-Mobile Center.
Specific matchups will be released at a later date, along with tickets, but the storylines going will be aplenty. Former Illini coach Bruce Weber leads the Wildcats, who recently added former Illini guard Mark Smith.
The Hall of Fame Classic semifinals will take place on the evening of Nov. 22 at T-Mobile Center, followed by the consolation and championship games on Nov. 23.
Speaking of the Illini schedule, Jon Rothstein from CBS Sports reported Wednesday that Arizona will visit State Farm Center on Dec. 11. The non-conference game will be a return game of a home-and-home series that was first played in Tucson back in 2019. The two teams delayed playing the game last season due to the pandemic.
Also on Wednesday, Illinois basketball announced more than $3 million more has been raised towards the expansion and renovation of the Ubben Basketball Practice Facility. $22 million has already been raised for the $40 million project.
“I continue to be overwhelmed by the outpouring of support shown by so many for our student-athletes, providing them with the resources they need to compete for championships and maximize their experience with our program,” Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman said in a statement. “Like our other recent facilities projects, planned upgrades to the Ubben Basketball Complex will be program-changing for Illinois basketball and we are so excited to get shovels in the ground.”
Construction is expected to begin next month, with approximately 40,000 square feet being added to the existing structure, while remodeling large portions of the existing building will also take place. New coaches’ office spaces and a grand entry lobby are included in the project. Two new half courts will be added to both the women’s and men’s current gym space, giving the two programs additional space to work on development while not disrupting full-court action. The project will feature a new strength and conditioning addition, significantly increase the size of the locker rooms and players lounges and include a state-of-the-art sports medicine area.